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Wednesday, September 27, 2023

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Aztecs Rock Hunger Returns to Campus

The annual campaign kicks off Oct. 22 to benefit The Jacobs & Cushman Food Bank and the SDSU food pantry.
By SDSU News Team

San Diego State University’s annual Aztecs Rock Hunger (ARH) campaign fighting food and nutrition insecurity kicks off on Oct. 22 and runs through Nov. 14. This year’s theme is Welcome Back by Giving Back.

The campaign aims to combat food and nutrition insecurity not only on SDSU’s campus, but the greater San Diego community. In partnership with The Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank, SDSU’s Associated Students leads the university-wide effort.

The campaign comes at a crucial time as the food bank continues to serve more people than ever. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, it served 350,000 visitors monthly. Now, that number has skyrocketed to 600,000 a month.

“Throughout Aztecs Rock Hunger, I want to promote a culture of serving and giving back to our SDSU and San Diego community,” said A.S. Vice President of Financial Affairs Austin Barber. “Food insecurity and nutrition insecurity are multifaceted issues, and we want to provide as much support as possible in combating these issues.”

According to the food bank, food insecurity is when an individual has little to no food available at home and often they do not know how they will get their next meal. Nutrition insecurity is a term that describes the state of not having the physical or economic access to sufficient, safe, nutritious, and culturally acceptable food to meet daily dietary needs.

“San Diego State University has been a steadfast community partner of the San Diego Food Bank’s for well over a decade. What started out as a campaign in 2009 to help raise vital funds and food for families struggling to make ends meet throughout the county has grown and developed into an impactful collaboration to also provide emergency access to nutritious food for students,” said Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank Interim CEO, Casey Castillo.
“We are excited for this year’s Aztecs Rock Hunger food drive campaign and can’t wait to see how everyone comes together to break records with the ultimate goal of feeding hope in the community. On behalf of the 550,000 people we serve each month and our staff, we extend our heartfelt gratitude to the students, faculty and administration at SDSU for supporting the San Diego Food Bank and our mission both on campus and off.”
Since 2010, ARH has raised more than 3.6 million pounds of food. Last year, the ARH team ran an all-virtual campaign for the first time and raised more than 300,000 pounds of food during the pandemic. This year, ARH is looking to raise 619,000 pounds of food to represent the 619 area code that covers SDSU’s location in San Diego.

“We chose this goal and our tagline of ‘Welcome Back by Giving Back’ because we wanted to bring our focus back to the 6-1-9,” Barber said. “We aim to highlight the feeling that comes with being in community with each other on campus and in San Diego. This campaign is super special because it’s always been a community-based effort that directly touches our local population — our fellow students, friends, families and neighbors.”
A $1 donation to the campaign equals six pounds of food. A portion of the amount raised goes back into the A.S. Food Pantry, a free service for all SDSU students facing food insecurity. The food pantry is open three days a week and has distributed nearly 400,000 pounds of food since 2016. In addition, 20% of the monetary donations to the campaign go to the SDSU Economic Crisis Response Team (ECRT), which supports students experiencing immediate food, housing or unforeseen financial crises.

There are many ways to donate to ARH :

  1. Online to
  2. Through Venmo @ARH2021
  3. At all Starbucks and markets on campus
  4. At select upcoming Athletics games including the Homecoming football game on Nov. 13
  5. By dropping off non-perishable food items at any of the red bins on campus

There will also be special events to increase participation. The Aztecs Rock Hunger 5K, which saw great success virtually last year, will be taking place again, in a virtual and in-person format. Participants in the virtual 5K will race to fight food insecurity between Nov. 8-13 and the in-person 5K will be on Nov. 13. ARH participants can also donate through Aztec Proud tabling events where they can receive an ARH tote bag.  Local businesses in the College Area are also accepting ARH donations. For more information, go to the ARH Instagram: @aztecsrockhunger.